The Arizona Cardinals won’t have their incumbent starting quarterback for at least four weeks, as Kyler Murray will begin the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Once activated, he will have an additional 21 days to show that the knee is ready to roll for in-game action and join the 53-man roster.
This implies Murray will return between Weeks 5 and 8 of the 2023 season, though he could be out longer if head coach Jonathan Gannon and Company wish for either Josh Dobbs or Clayton Tune to continue under center even after Murray is activated. While it sounds counterintuitive, it would also ease Murray back into in-game action, so it makes sense.
When should the Arizona Cardinals starting quarterback debut?
The Cardinals play the Cincinnati Bengals on October 8th, and if Murray’s knee is fully up to the task, he could be the starter that week. However, it seems like it’s a rather longshot at the moment, and you also want to raise this question: Should Murray return against such a tough opponent like Cincinnati? Not that he couldn’t handle them, but the Cards also need to get this right.
The following week, Arizona plays the Los Angeles Rams on the road, a team who they had a lot of success against in SoFi Stadium. This would be an ideal time for Murray to play and likely enjoy what would be a confidence-builder against one of the league’s worst projected teams.
The Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens are next, and they are a pair of formidable opponents that a returning quarterback coming off of a down year probably shouldn’t return against. Once again, this isn’t to say Murray can’t handle them, and I’m 1,000% sure he’d be willing to play. But again, if you’re Jonathan Gannon, you don’t want to mess this up.
If Murray can’t return in Week 6 against the Rams, then his next best bet is Week 9 against the Cleveland Browns. Sure, Murray will be dealing with Myles Garrett, but the Browns as a unit are one of the league’s more overrated teams.
The best overall scenario is that Murray returns between Weeks 10 and 12, when the Arizona Cardinals should have an easy stretch of schedule against the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, and another bout against the Rams. Overall, it pays for Murray to sit until there is no doubt his knee is at 100%, refrain from rushing him back, and put him in the best position to deliver a good sample size.
Source: Cardinals to keep Kyler Murray on PUP list, cut Colt McCoy by Josh Weinfuss, ESPN